It’s Time To Deliver to Our Communities:Pass the BBB Act to help Marylanders: PM Weekly Memo for Monday, October 18, 2021
IT’S CRUNCH TIME. Federal action is needed to address our health and child care needs, to support our schools and teachers; to expand Medicare, reduce prescription drug costs, protect seniors, and take bold action to deal with human induced climate change.The time for Congress to deliver on these things is now, including a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who call the United States their home. The Build Back Better Act, a bold budget deal that requires wealthy corporations and the super rich to pay their fair share in taxes, is being threatened by Big PhRMA and other corporate interests who are spending millions of dollars to derail the plan. But the public and elected Democrats in Congress overwhelmingly support these budget priorities. They know that we need to transform the systems that have failed us and make a serious investment in the workers and people who make the economy go. All of these goals can be reached by sending the full Build Back Better Act to President Biden’s desk this month. Let’s get the Maryland Congressional Delegation to do the right thing, click here: Contact Congress
Thanks for reading our update and for being part of this movement.
The Progressive Maryland Team
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Progressive Maryland is organizing at the grassroots level for economic, social and political justice. We have a chance for our message and our policy priorities to break through now and in the coming months in Washington and Annapolis. Help us gain more ground by becoming a member of Progressive Maryland.
Our members strengthen our grassroots organizing and through their financial support help us reach Marylanders all over the state. In turn, PM provides its members important updates, invitations to some great leadership and political training sessions, and opportunities to help guide our chapter building, our issue and electoral priorities and other decisions. Please join today so we can build a better Maryland.
Phonebank and text bank with our team every Thursday at 6 p.m. Every week we'll be phoning or texting voters across the state about a number of key issues. Soon we'll start using our Thursdays to throw down for progressive candidates that need our help to win! Click this link to let us know you’re coming!
This Thursday, Oct. 21, we’re texting Marylanders about the great benefits in the federal Build Back Better Act. We’ll be giving them a link to contact their Member of Congress to urge them to support all of the BBB agenda especially when it comes to Medicare expansion and lowering prescription drug prices. You can help us win this campaign! We can’t let the lobbying of Big PhRMA and giant corporations drown out the voices of people. Please come out -- it’s fun and it makes a difference. New to texting? We’ll show you how! See you Thursday!
RE-ENTRY WORK GROUP Townhall on Tuesday, Oct, 19th at 6:30 pm. We're excited to welcome State Delegates Jessica Feldmark (D12), Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D23A), and Senator Arthur Ellis (D28) to discuss their respective work in reentry and participate in a brief Q&A. We'll also hear from Jason Hutchings, a returning citizen. and his transition back to the community. Our leadership team will announce our grant program for non-profit organizations involved in reentry in Prince George's County. Finally, we'll hear from you and what changes you'd like to see in reentry for your community. Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZItc-uuqTwtEtznLcp2hUQiP5yP6lKow0G5
New Era PAC Friend & Fundraisers:
Our events this summer and fall have been energizing, engaging and effective. We appreciate all of our members and leaders who have taken the time to organize virtual and in-person get-togethers to build this new exciting program. To learn more about what we’re doing, what’s coming up and how to get involved:
If you would like to contribute financially:
Drug Policy Campaign
Our Drug Policy Taskforce is working to demand that Congress pass the MAT Act (Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment) which will allow folks suffering from substance use disorder easier access to lifesaving treatment like Buprenorphine. Email Jesse if you want to learn more: [email protected]
Healthcare Justice Campaign
Urgent: Fight to Expand Healthcare, Medicare and Childcare:
We’re holding strong on winning a robust and expansive Build Back Better Act. A vote in Congress is expected this month! That’s why we’ve stepped up our organizing. We can’t let the Prescription Drug negotiation language be watered down-- some elected officials want to do that and/or gut some of the programs or add poison pills like means testing that would limit the number of people receiving various benefits that the Act covers. We need to fight these attempts to limit the benefits and scope of the Act. They are coming from a few conservative Democrats and their corporate backers. We’re fighting back.
This Thursday October 21 join a special Throwdown text bank to support the campaign, especially to preserve plans to lower the cost of drugs and add benefits like dental, vision and hearing to Medicare Sign up here:. http://pgmd.us/tdt
We still face many health, housing, and economic challenges related to the pandemic. Now is not the time to let up on COVID measures and recovery efforts. Much more remains to be done. Please tell our state leaders that. Maryland officials have announced that we have a $2.5 billion state budget surplus. Let’s target that money (much of which came from federal COVID relief funds) to help everyday people and not park all or most of it in the rainy day fund.
Local Chapter Updates:
Progressive Baltimore County
Baltimore County is having its first competitive State's Attorney race in 15 years. At a time in which calls for transformative changes to the criminal legal system are the loudest they have been in generations, this election presents an opportunity and a choice for Baltimore County voters: should we continue with the same old tough on crime policies of the past or choose a new approach that will focus on a new philosophy significant reforms. Join us to hear from the candidates who hope to be the State's Attorney for Baltimore County. RSVP here:
Contact Zach with questions or to get more information.
Progressive Harford County
The website for Progressive Harford County is done! Check out progressiveharco.org today.
Progressive Harford County is starting a series of town halls with local and statewide candidates. Our first town hall will be with Ashwani Jain, a gubernatorial Democratic candidate, on Oct. 27 from 6:30-8 p.m. Jain will be asked about his background, policies and vision for Maryland. Attendees can also submit questions to be asked during the town hall. Register for the event today.
Interested in joining our environmental justice or election work groups? We’re seeking MoCo folks who want to get involved. Contact [email protected] if you’re interested.
State and National News:
In case you missed it, read this piece by our Executive Director, Larry Stafford, in Maryland Matters : Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore
Here's the Capital News Service roundup of new laws that went into effect starting Oct. 1st, including Anton's Law! *** Follow-up: New Police Investigation Panel Has Already Begun Work On Cases: A new division of state investigators has already taken on a few cases as it undertakes new responsibilities to investigate police related deaths after the law went into effect on Oct. 1, Jessica Anderson reports for the Sun.
Wind Turbine Fabrication Center To Open Locally: Maryland is expanding its clean energy portfolio and will have its first offshore wind fabrication center per a $72 million partnership between a Danish wind company and an eastern shore steel fabrication firm, Bryan Renbaum reports on Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement for Maryland Reporter. Plus:A Caroline County steel fabricator will supply $70 million in wind turbine foundations for the projects that offshore wind farm developer Ørsted plans to develop in the ocean off Maryland and New Jersey, Lorraine Mirabella reports for the Sun.
Slippery Slope: A covert coalition of retro Prince George’s County Council members has by a narrow vote) snuck across a self-serving redistricting map that appears to shut some progressive candidates out of the districts they were already running in. An even-handed map drawn up by a neutral commission seems to have gotten peremptorily tossed out. See this take from Maryland Matters for details.
Around the USA:
The inside track from People’s Action: the bitter Build Back Better Battle. Both Houses of Congress are just coming back off recess and there is still no deal on the Build Back Better budget, neither the topline number nor the substance of the bill.
There has been some worrying news about what could be on the chopping block, namely Medicare expansion (particularly the dental plan) plus the plan to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. The plan for a clean electricity grid is particularly under threat by Sen. Joe Manchin (more below). Additionally, we expect the overall amount of investments in affordable housing to be cut, the question is how much or how little.
At this point, nothing is set in stone and there is still time to influence the final package by urging Senators and Members of Congress to fight for our priorities to be included in the final package. Follow that link to get it done.
Just how to cut down the overall number from $3.5 trillion to the $1.5- 2.5 trillion “new” topline is still being debated. The Speaker and some committee chairs indicated that they would cut programs entirely to fully invest in others while the Congressional Progressive Caucus responded [FROM POLITICO] in a letter to Pelosi on Wednesday: “If given a choice between legislating narrowly or broadly, we strongly encourage you to choose the latter, and make robust investments over a shorter window,” adding that doing so would have immediate benefits for more people. This article also notes that CPC & Senator Sanders made clear to the White House that failing to expand Medicare is a nonstarter.
Climate action on the streets in DC last week resulted in over 600 arrests, but Manchin is still blocking a key element, the clean power grid. Politico reports he may settle for “a path for natural gas and coal generation to be included as Manchin requested, so long as they have carbon capture technology to mitigate emissions.”
Events From Our Allies:
Monday, Oct. 18 | 7pm
Reel & Meal presents "PFAS Diaries" – A series of documentary shorts details the effects of PFAS contamination. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been used at military installations throughout the country for decades as a constituent chemical for firefighting foam; they leach into our soil and water and are released into the air through incineration.
Register here for remote access – Intro 6:30pm; films begin at 7pm
Friday, October 22 | 10am
Silver Spring Justice Coalition and Partners: Direct Action Sunday, October 24th in Gaithersburg: Justice for Ryan LeRoux
You can learn more about Ryan's killing here. Please come to this community rally if you can.
Progressive Maryland BlogSpace:
We value creating space for our members to express their thoughts on any issues related to our campaigns. Have an idea for a blog post? You can submit writing, film, graphic design etc. to be published on our website to the blog moderator, Woody, at [email protected].
The Fight for Justice and More: PM Weekly Memo for Tuesday, October 12, 2021
As we marked another Indigenous People’s Day yesterday around the state and around the nation, we were moved by the Native elders, activists and faith leaders who came to Washington, D.C. to demand that President Biden declare a Climate Emergency. Federal action is needed now to address the existential threat of human induced climate change. Such measures will help all of our communities, particularly those that have suffered environmental degradation, like many areas of Baltimore. Read the post in today’s Maryland Matters by PM’s Executive Director about this topic: Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore
October 12, 2021 Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore
Progressive Maryland's Executive Director Larry Stafford Jr. highlights the pro-urban and pro-Baltimore elements embedded in President Biden's Build Back Better plan. It's important to keep it intact as GOP indifference and some neolib Democrats want to dismantle it. Protecting it is vital, for Baltimore, for Maryland and for democracy.
‘What do we want? A Caring Economy! Medicare expansion and lower Rx prices! More good jobs! Climate Action! A Pathway to Citizenship! Corporate accountability and tax fairness! When do we want it? Now!’
We’re marching in the streets, contacting Members of Congress, mobilizing our base, and lifting up progressive messages and progressive champions to counter the tired old Joe Manchin and mainstream narrative.
"We" of course means you, all of you ready for change from your neighborhood to Annapolis to DC, and holding elected officials accountable to work to improve your lives, not those of lobbyists and corporate CEOs. Read on to see how.
October 04, 2021 Media discourse keeps the "both sides" illusion alive
As the full horror of Donald Trump's attempt to seize power and dump democracy fades in the public mind, the mainstream media -- which collectively had been pointing out the difference between facts and lies -- have slumped back into he said-she said vanilla coverage. Take the word "strict," analyst Sean Dobson suggests -- a word with a lot of positive connotations for most readers. Does it make sense to describe as "strict" scuh recent state-level atrocities as Mississippi's or Texas's draconian new abortion laws, or the blatant voter-suppression laws being passed by Republican legislators in a dozen-plus states where they have control? Or is the press slipping back to its old duck-and-cover strategy to avoid being tagged as "liberal"?
A new report from People's Action and Demos details the avalanche of corporate spending to stop or trim important measures that would expand Medicare, childcare, paid family leave, community health programs, green jobs and critical climate initiatives.
“It’s not surprising that these businesses that represent billionaire and multi-millionaire CEOs and stockholders are lobbying hard to keep the status quo in place -- big tax breaks for them, higher prices and lower wages for us -- and that they are spending tens of millions of dollars to vocalize their demands and to drown out the peoples’ voices” said Larry Stafford, Executive Director of Progressive Maryland.